MANILA, Philippines - Independent pollster Pulse Asia denied on Monday that its latest survey is meant to influence senator-judges in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, Pulse Asia chief research fellow, said the survey – which showed 47% of Pinoys believing Corona guilty of the impeachment charges – is part of their normal quarterly research on top government officials and institutions.
“We have no intention of influencing especially the senators regarding their appreciation of the evidence or their own judgment of this particular case. We do hope they will consider all the other information,” she told ANC’s “On the Scene.”
The March 2012 Ulat ng Bayan national survey earlier showed 47% of Filipinos saying Corona is guilty of the impeachment charges, with 33% saying he is probably guilty and 15% being certain about his guilt.
The same survey said 43% of the Filipinos cannot say whether Corona is guilty or not. Only 5% say he is innocent.
Tabunda said the survey, conducted from February 26 to March 9, 2012, was not meant to get the people’s sentiments on Corona when the defense had yet to present its side. Corona’s lawyers only started to resent evidence and witnesses in the impeachment trial last March 12.
“We run our surveys on a regular basis. At this point, we caught only up to the point where the prosecutors had presented…The senators called for a recess for a week and by the time they resumed, our survey date was over. So there was no intention to catch only 1 side of the argument,” she said.
“This is a normal survey period and we asked questions that are of a particular importance and can be linked to performance ratings of our national officials and their trust ratings,” she added.
The Pulse Asia official denied that the questions raised in the recent survey were sponsored by any subscriber.
“These are our questions, which is why we can share them. They are not for any or sponsored by any subscriber. They are our questions and we think the people should know. They are being shown all this. It’s a very public trial.
She said the firm conducted a similar survey during the 2000 impeachment trial of then President Joseph Estrada.
She said another group also conducted a survey on the Corona impeachment trial but was not given as much publicity by the senator-judges.
Private pollster Laylo Research Strategies earlier conducted a nationwide poll that showed 86% of Filipinos will accept the Senate's decision in the trial.
“The people have a right to express their opinion on a very public trial using public funds. It is a case that has an impact on their welfare and interest. That is our position,” she said.